Goodbye October

I am still stunned that all 31 days of October are over and done with. Boo! Just like that.

Our boys had school pictures made. We think they are about as handsome as all get out.school pic collage

Camden had a sick day at the beginning of the month. When he realized he was staying home, he found his Teach2Talk “Where Questions” dvd and watched it most of the day. So very studious of him. =) Quite a few of his goals this year are working on answering questions, so I thought it was cute that he pulled out the where dvd, like he was studying up since he didn’t go to school. Camden loves the Teach2Talk videos. They’re a good fit for him as they have music, text, good video clips, etc. Here he is working hard on his day off. No rest for the weary.
Camden Sick DayI had plans to meet a friend at a new restaurant on the day that Camden was home sick. Thankfully, my husband works from home and I was still able to go. If you live in our neck of the woods, you’ve surely heard of Hugs Café by now. It’s a restaurant in downtown McKinney whose staff is 80% folks with special needs. Here’s a clip that gives more info: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7YE1_i49GU I visited the week before they officially opened. They had a limited menu and were knee-deep in training the staff. I feasted on the chicken salad sandwich and the chicken tortilla soup and a tasty cookie. It was all good. The vibe is the very best thing about Hugs Café. Here’s a little bit about Ruth, the owner and founder of Hugs:

Hugs Cafe has been in the making for more than 15 years and began as a simple passion for people. Our Founder and President, Ruth Thompson, found this passion in the early 2000’s while working with Adults with Special needs in Parker, Colorado at New Day In Home and Respite Care. This served as the foundation for Hugs Cafe and would ultimately lead to its formation in 2013. Without her inspiration, her drive and her determination, we would not be here today. Upon moving to Texas in 2004, Ruth combined her passions for people and food by teaching cooking classes to Special Needs Adults at Market Street in McKinney. For nearly ten years Ruth taught two classes per week, constantly striving to help develop new skills, become more independent and enhance their personal self-worth. After retiring from teaching, Ruth searched for new ways to enhance the lives of Special Needs Adults and has channeled her passion and dedicated every waking moment to making Hugs Café a reality.

Ruth sounds like an extraordinary person. I wish Ruth and the crew at Hugs Cafe all the success in the world!! A local mom blogger shared some tips about dining at Hugs. Hopefully, common sense stuff, but wouldn’t hurt to look it over. HugsCafe

My mother-in-law came to visit for 10 days and we had a great time. We drove to San Antonio for an appointment. Made plenty of time for fun while we were there. We visited Morgan’s Wonderland. Morgan's Wonderland collageHad a blast at Sea World! I love thinking about our first visit to Sea World as a family.

SeaWorld Oct 2015 BThis picture of Carson and Brian and Camden and Grandmom on the Shamu Express roller coaster cracks me up. Camden likes the coaster and asked to ride it, but he does put his riding companion in a headlock throughout the duration of the ride. Our family is on the last two cars. Shamu Express

We stayed near the River Walk. It was nice to be close to the action. River Walk Oct 2015We took Grandmom to Top Golf one day when Camden was in school. TopGolfCarson had to show Grandmom his sweet moves at the local skate park.
skate parkWe went to Main Event on a Saturday and spent a stupid amount of money playing mini-golf and bowling.
Main EventJust before Grandmom had to go back home, we went to the Celina Balloon Festival. We were kind of on the fence about it, and I’m glad we went. I recently shared about our experience at the Plano Balloon Festival. The Celina Balloon Festival had fewer balloons (about 15 balloons at Celina vs almost 40 at Plano Festival), traffic was less crazy at the Celina Festival, and the super fun thing is that you could get up super close to the balloons in Celina (vs them being roped off in Plano). The weather was too windy for the balloons to launch at either location. Brian and Carson played football while we waited for the event to begin. The balloons took turns inflating and it was interesting and exciting to watch the process up close. Once the sun set, they started the burn, or glow, where they turn up the fire. They have fireworks at the end of the evening, but we opted out.
Celina Balloon Festival 2015During my mother-in-law’s visit, I sneaked away one evening to attend the National Autism Association of North Texas Moms’ Night Out at the Spa Castle in Carrollton. We were loved on BIG TIME! Free admission, $15 toward food/beverages, a fun t-shirt, a book of prayers for mamas, and a door prize. Last year, I won $50 to Whole Foods. This year, I won a $50 gift card to DSW!!! Here’s a picture of my dear friend and fellow autism mom, Lea, during the MNO. Also included is a picture of my new kicks.
NAA MNO 2015Our local autism support group, Our Children’s Circle, had a forum highlighting safety this month. We focused on safety in the community and safety in schools. One of the officers is the Crisis Intervention Specialist and he has an adult daughter with autism. This officer was awesome to team up with us to discuss the Take Me Home program, officer training, etc. The safety in schools segment addressed topics like cameras in classrooms, safe rooms, restraint training. Lots of good dialogue.
OCC Safety ForumOne of our local organizations, Especially Needed, put on a fall carnival for special needs families. Especially Needed puts on events several times a year for special needs families to enjoy. Easter egg hunts, fall carnivals, seeing Santa can be stressful for some kiddos with special needs. It’s so nice to be in an environment with families in similar situations where you don’t feel odd or judged. The day before the carnival, my husband was under the weather. He wasn’t able to attend. I had already told my youngest son about it and he was super excited. With all the people, I knew I wouldn’t be able to take both boys by myself. Carson and I went to the carnival, and left Daddy and Camden home, knowing we’d attend another event the following weekend. We had a great time! There was a petting zoo, pony rides, a train, lots of games and booths, balloon animals, and dinner. You could tell that people had worked really hard to make it a success.
Especially Needed Fall Carnival 2015I observe Camden at school once a month. This month I observed him during Direct Instruction. This is his 1:1 time of ABA to work on his specific goals with his teacher. He just got new goals a couple of weeks ago, so I anticipated that he’d be a little frustrated. Camden’s teacher set us up to watch Camden via Facetime. It was awesome!! My husband works from home, so he was able to watch for the first time. He did amazing! He was working on telling time and addition and all sorts of great stuff. SO thankful for his teacher and that she thought of this! Since Camden can’t tell me about his day, this kind of stuff is so important to me. It does my heart a world of good to see him happy and learning and loved. Here is a fuzzy picture of our observation.
DI observationWe celebrated my brother’s birthday by meeting up at Cracker Barrel and then hanging at his house for pie and play. He has 3 teenagers AND he has one-year-old twin boys. It had been way too long since we’d seen them. They are growing BIG and are tons of fun!
Kerry's bday 2015Our church had their Trunk-or-Treat festivities this past weekend. Due to the rain, they had to move things indoors. There were gobs of people. Camden went as a construction worker and Carson was a fireman.
costumes 2015We’ve had Fall classroom parties, Wednesday women’s Bible, my physical, autism re-evaluation, training for the Santa Run 5K, boys’ bathroom update, an abundance of tomatoes in the garden, our yearly family pictures, etc. Lots of activity going on. Making sure to slow down each day to love my peeps. These pictures were taken two Sundays ago at church. I look at them and marvel as I see God’s fingerprints all over these boys. Carson is on the left. I took that picture of him while we were singing. Just had to smile at him and that Little Dog. One of the sweet volunteers in Camden’s class took the picture of him on the right. He was working hard building this tower.
SundayBring it, November!

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